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Kunekune Pigs Frequently Asked Questions

This is a simple list of some questions I get from people who do not currently have pigs. It is not a complete guide on how to keep kunekunes.

I want to get a kunekune, where do I start?

The first thing you should do, is go and see some kunekunes and make sure that you are being realistic about what owning pigs will be like. Spend as much time with them as you can. We frequently have people stay over in our B&B or caravan so that they can meet our pigs and spend some time around them.
Next, buy one or both of these books. They contain everything you need to know to get started and own your first kunes. Essential reading for a first time kunekune owner.
Small-Scale Outdoor Pig Breeding Starting with Pigs book
You will also need to get a holding number. Ring the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) Customer Service Centre on 0845 6037777.

How big are kunekunes?

Kunekunes are the smallest domesticated breed of pig in the world. That said, they are still a sizeable animal - as all pigs have the potential to be. Their natural shape is rounder and fatter than a dog. The piglets can be very small. As small as a teacup, and they can stand in the palm of your hand. At this point you might call it a miniture pig. However they will grow much bigger. You should be comfortable with the size of the adult pig it will become after 2-3years of growth, and not just look at the piglet.

Do you breed micro pigs, teacup pigs or miniature pigs?

There are no such breeds of pig called 'micro', 'teacup' or 'miniature'. All of our kunekunes are pedigree, from various bloodlines.

Many people have never seen breeds of commercial meat pigs close-up and are unaware how big they really are. So using phrases like micro, teacup or miniature to indicate pigs are smaller than modern commercial pigs can be misleading and can give people a false expectation of what these animals will become when fully grown. Before considering owning any pig, always look at the parents and other stock that a breeder has and remember that a sow can have a litter before she is fully grown herself.

Some further reading:
Advertising Standards Authority Adjudication on Little Pig Farm Ltd
The BKKPS Statement on ‘Mini’ or ‘Micro’ pigs

Where can I keep kunes?

A field, or paddock is ideal. Many people keep them in a large fenced off area in a field. A normal residential garden is not suitable - it will not be big enough and the pigs would destroy flower beds. As long as the pigs have access to a straw filled shelter that is dry and out of drafts they can be kept outside all year. The more space the better. We let ours graze the fields in summer, and confine them to smaller areas in winter when trotters would damage the wet pasture.
A few people keep pigs in the house. This is not something I would recommend, as pigs of any size are more suited to the outdoors. You need to think very carefully if you have a suitable environment, before making the commitment of owning a pig.

What do kunes eat?

The kunekune is the only true grazing pig. An adult can maintain condition on grass throughout the spring/summer months without the need for extra feed.
An acre of grass can sustain at least 5 kunes. If you do not have enough grass, they can still happily be kept in a smaller area and be fed low-protein pig pellets, hay and any spare fruit and vegetables to make up the difference. Perhaps the majority of kune owners feed their pigs this way.

If kunes are fed purely on pig pellets the approximate quantities per day are:
Piglets 8 weeks-4 months - 0.5kg
Piglets 4-9 months - 0.75kg
Adults 1-1.5kg
The more grass, vegetables, hay or other feed is given, the less pellets are needed.
A 25kg bag of pig pellets will cost around £7.

What kunes dig?

Some kunes do, some don't. Certainly kunes dig less than other breeds of pig. Whether a kune will dig or not depends on a lot of factors, many of which are not fully understood. Opinions vary, and here are some of the most popular theories:

  • If a kune cannot get enough food, it will dig as it gets hungry. This can happen towards the end of Summer as the nutition content of grass starts to diminish, if other feed is not provided.
  • The nature of the pig - sometimes one sibling will dig while the other will not. Some people also report that a kune will grow out of the behavior as it gets older.
  • The land can also play a part. Well drained flat pasture will be less likely to be dug, than bumpy wet ground that is easier to get a snout under.

We graze out kunes in the fields in Summer and restrict this grazing in the Winter months. If any pig starts to dig, it is either moved to a different area, or restricted to a smaller enclosure.

Is it best to have males or females?

We sell all our male piglets after they have been castrated at 2-3 weeks of age. This means that they grow up to be the same size and nature as if they were female.
Many people choose either 2 castrated males, or a castrated male and a female.
Females and castrated males can be mixed in any combination without it making any difference.

You should never buy a whole boar unless you are going to start breeding on a larger scale. They can be a bit territorial, stronger and require a more experienced pig owner.

Can they be kept alone or in groups?

It is always best to keep kunes together. They are very sociable creatures and will get lonely and suffer if kept isolated. Two or more is a good number. I do not recommend keeping a single kunekune alone.

Can pigs be kept in a house?

No. Pigs of any breed, or cross-bred are not suitable to be kept as a house pet. You will find people who will sell you pigs they say are suitable as house pets - but this does not make it true. Do your own research.

Are they safe with children?

Kunes are very trustworthy and enjoy attention and human contact. In common with dogs and all animals it is sensible to supervise children. Our children are not left alone with our pigs (or the cat).

Can kunes live with other animals?

Definately. We graze ours with sheep, and I have seen them in padocks with horses, running outside with the family dog and some of our pigs are in the stables of a professional race horse trainer.
Most animals will be a little unsure at first, but will soon get used to kunes. The time they might need separating is while other animals are being fed.

How much do they cost?

Castrated males are £100. Entire boars and females £150.

How do I buy one?

We normally operate a waiting list for anyone seriously interested in buying piglets. When a litter is born we contact people in turn to allow them to choose a piglet - either in person or via photos. If you then decide to buy, 50% of the cost is payable after you have chosen. The rest is payable as you collect your pigs. In the unlikely event that something unfortunate happens to a piglet you have bought whilst it is still at Dalehouse we will give a full refund.
We do not reserve or take deposits for piglets. You either buy, or not and we ask people to consider what it means to own a pig before making the decision.
All of our piglets are sold with pedigree registration papers, castrated, and injected with Dectomax before leaving.

Do you sell whole boars or breeding pairs?

If you want a whole boar, contact us early with your requirements and we will save a suitable piglet from castration as he is born.
However, whole boars are certainly not pets and we only sell them to people who already have experience with pigs. If you think you want to breed in the future, get a young female and a castrated male for company and get some experience with pigs before thinking about a boar. Most kune owners who breed from one or two sows never actually own a boar, and use a stud service.

Can you ship them overseas?

No, but we are happy to assist with the requirements for export. Other than mainland Britain, our pigs have gone to the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, Eire and the USA.
If you cannot drive to collect the pigs yourself the best way to do this is using specialist agents who handle the paperwork and travel arrangements. You will need to contact someone in your country to get a quote.